Duanesburg residents upset about a proposed compressed natural gas distribution facility met Tuesday night and voted nearly unanimously to retain an attorney.
The more than 30 residents, who met at the Duanesburg Area Community Center, also voted on a name: Duanesburg’s OWN (Organization of Worried Neighbors).
“You know that salad dressing Newman’s Own, have you heard of that?” asked Gary Drizos, a Duanesburg resident who led the meeting. “What if we named our group Duanesburg’s OWN?”
That name received three more votes than another resident’s suggestion: The Last Frontier. The name was needed in order to establish a checking account, which the residents plan to use to raise money to pay an attorney. Drizos told them it could cost about $1,250 to hire an attorney to represent the group at the next Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, at the Duanesburg Fire Department on Route 7. Residents packed Town Hall last week for the first hearing on the proposal.
“My biggest concern is the essential character of my neighborhood — it’s not going to retain the rural character that we have come to love,” said Terri Repscher, who lives on Route 30 in Duanesburg.
The facility would be located on a nearby 54-acre vacant site on Route 7 that consists of grass fields, heavy brush, trees and some wetlands. The compressing station would run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and service about two trucks per hour, or 45 vehicles a day.
Residents agreed to fight the proposal by focusing on the four criteria it needs to meet for the required use variance: that the applicant cannot realize a reasonable return without the variance; that the alleged hardship is unique; that it was not self-created; and that the variance would not alter the essential character of the neighborhood.
The use variance is needed because the project would be located in the town’s agricultural and residential zone.
The project was first proposed last year by Vermont-based NG Advantage, which delivers natural gas to commercial customers not yet served by a pipeline. It was tabled until several months ago, when Clean Energy, a California-based provider of natural gas fuel, joined the project and submitted a revised application to the town.
Mark Riley, Eastern Region vice president for Clean Energy, said the site is attractive to the company because it is bordered by the Iroquois Interstate Pipeline as well as National Grid transmission lines, both of which have made the property a tough sell.
The residents plan to meet at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday at the Duanesburg Area Community Center leading up to the hearing on Sept. 16.